Good Online Projects

What makes a good online project?

This depends on ages involved, but I think a good online project is one that lends to cross-curricular exploration. Ask yourself:

  • Is it a project that can connect things they need to learn in their grades along with things they might be discovering about their community or the world in general?
  • How will they gain more perspective by sharing this discovery process with learning communities elsewhere?

One of the best projects I was involved with was the Patty Reed's Doll project that involved westward exploration. There were so many different ways the participating schools made it personal and involved for their school.

International projects are often best kept a little simpler to help make up for language issues with students. A key consideration is having some adults that can help with the issue of translation.

Another advantage of online projects is that they help teach children to be objective with their sources and what they read. They often begin to realize that just because something is printed doesn't always make it true. Opinions can be easily swayed, so they really have to have solid understandings and values of their own pon which to help base decisions. I have always found that my students who get involved with online collaborations become more aware of the world in general. They bring in different perspectives from the news programs, they often begin to become more objective in choices of what they view on television, and they often become more actively engaged in learning in all areas.

Are there experts in a field that can be recruited to participate?

This is one of the most fascinating parts of online collaborations. There are many professionals, from professors on down, who are very willing to share their expertise with students and offer incredible contributions. I have been amazed at times by the phenomenal (and sometimes famous) individuals that have been willing to do this with my special education students.

Submitted by:
Cheryl Vitali
Reading Recovery Teacher
Alta Elementary School

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